By Tim Blakley
I once swam in a lake that was such a dark red color that I couldn’t see my arms or legs. While striking, the reason for the color was perfectly natural – the lake was surrounded by trees with roots that reached into the water and released tannins that produced the distinct color. Often called Tea Tree Lake (it’s actual name is Lake Ainsworth), this unique body of water is located in eastern Australia, where tea tree plants grow wild.
Tea tree essential oil has been popular for several decades here in North America, and even longer in Australia. The best-known species, Melaleuca alternifolia, became popular in part because it grows abundantly in the populated areas of eastern Australia.
Although most consumers are aware of just the one species, Melaleuca alternifolia, there are 300 species of tea tree that grow throughout Australia and New Zealand. At least a dozen of these are in commercial use today, and several more are on their way to the marketplace. My two “new” favorites are Aura Cacia Lavender Tea Tree, Melaleuca ericifolia, and Aura Cacia Lemon Tea Tree, Leptospermum petersonii. When I first “discovered” the plants used to make these oils while visiting one of our farmers in Australia, I immediately fell in love with them for their unique qualities and great potential.
What’s to love about lavender tea tree
Standing less than 10 feet tall, lavender tea tree, sometimes called Rosalina, is a smaller plant than Melaleuca alternifolia and is presently cultivated on a fairly small scale. The aroma of traditional tea tree doesn’t appeal to everyone, so lavender tea tree is a much better-smelling alternative! While this oil contains similar constituents you’d find in Aura Cacia Lavender and Aura Cacia Tea Tree, it is a single-botanical oil with unique constituents that you won’t find in a blend.
Additionally, tea tree can be slightly irritating, whereas lavender tea tree has a less irritating quality, making it ideal for facial use. Lavender tea tree also can be used in many skin formulas, foot formulas, cleaning products and topical applications and is even nice to smell when it’s diffused. It’s a regular in my carry-on case when I travel – I couldn’t go anywhere without it!
One of my favorite ways to use Aura Cacia Lavender Tea Tree is the following:
Lavender Tea Tree Spot Treatment Facial
10 drops of Aura Cacia Helichrysum Precious Essentials
2 drops of Aura Cacia Lavender Tea Tree
Mix ingredients in your hand and apply to the spots that need extra care. (Because the Aura Cacia Precious Essentials line is pre-blended in jojoba oil, there is no need for the addition of another carrier oil.)
What’s to love about lemon tea tree
Aura Cacia Lemon Tea Tree, Leptospermum petersonii, is another great new tea tree. It is a bit like combining Aura Cacia Lemon, Aura Cacia Lemongrass and Aura Cacia Tea Tree – but as with Aura Cacia Lavender Tea Tree, our Lemon Tea Tree is a single-botanical oil, not a blend. It stands out as a cleaning oil because you get the excellent cleansing action of many of its constituents along with the perfect scent for your home. I use it for general house cleaning as well as diffusing into the airspace. It is also ideal for use in outdoor patio sprays and diffusers.
The tea tree market hasn’t changed much in 20 years, but with the introduction of Aura Cacia Lavender and Lemon Tea Trees, you can enjoy some exciting new uses (and aromas!) for this popular oil. With 280 unused species, there is surely a diversity of tea tree oils waiting to be discovered!
Learn more about Aura Cacia tea tree essential oils.
How do you typically use tea tree essential oil?
About the Author: As an Aromatherapist for Aura Cacia, Tim Blakley provides aromatherapy education throughout North America. His 30 years of experience includes authoring Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field and Marketplace, worldwide travel researching essential oil plants and herbs, and managing the National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs. He has also held positions with the California School of Herbal Studies, Herb Pharm and Frontier Co-op. Tim lives and practices aromatherapy in Hawaii.